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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
doi: 10.1249/01.MSS.0000400749.27709.34
A-35 Free Communication/Poster - Epidemiology - Disease Prevention/Treament - Youth: JUNE 1, 2011 7:30 AM - 12:30 PM: ROOM: Hall B

Fatness, Fitness And Physical Activity From Childhood To Adolescence: 1349: Board #85 June 1 9:30 AM - 11:00 AM

Helajarvi, Harri1; Pahkala, Katja1; Heinonen, Olli J.1; Hernelahti, Miika1; Raittinen, Paivi2; Hakanen, Maarit3; Lagstrom, Hanna4; Viikari, Jorma SA3; Ronnemaa, Tapani3; Raitakari, Olli T.3; Simell, Olli3

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Author Information

1Paavo Nurmi Centre, University of Turku, Turku, Finland. 2Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland. 3University of Turku, Turku, Finland. 4Turku Institute for Child and Youth Research, Turku, Finland. (Sponsor: Raija Laukkanen, FACSM)

Email: harri.helajarvi@utu.fi

(No relationships reported)

Low, as well as decreasing, fitness in childhood predicts overweight and weight gain in youth and adults. On the contrary, it is not known how body weight in early childhood is associated with fitness in adolescence.

PURPOSE: To study the association of early childhood weight status with fitness and leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) in adolescence.

METHODS: Weight status was assessed by BMI (kg/m2) annually since birth in a prospective, longitudinal atherosclerosis prevention study (STRIP). A mean BMI between age 2-7 y was used to indicate weight status at preschool age. Fitness was studied with a maximal cycle ergometer test at age 17 y. The same self-administered questionnaire was used to assess LTPA at age 13 and 17 y. Data on preschool age BMI, LTPA at ages 13 and 17 y and fitness at age 17 y was available for 351 children. The association of change in weight status with fitness at age 17 y was studied using a z-score of mean BMI at ages 2-7 y and BMI at age 17 y (i.e. belonging to the highest quintile (=high BMI), or to the 4 lowest quintiles (=low BMI) for BMI z-score at age 2-7 y and 17 y). ANOVA and ANCOVA were used for the analyses

RESULTS: BMI at preschool age was inversely associated with fitness in adolescence independently of adolescent LTPA (p=0.0001). Children who had a high preschool age BMI, but who were able to reach a lower weight status in adolescence, had a similar adolescent fitness as children with a persistently low BMI. Preschool age BMI was not associated with LTPA at age 13 or 17 y.

CONCLUSIONS: Decreasing high preschool BMI resulted in similar adolescent fitness as in adolescents with persistently low BMI. These data emphasize the importance of maintaining a healthy body weight throughout childhood to improve adolescent fitness.

Supported by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, the Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Juho Vainio Foundation.

© 2011 American College of Sports Medicine

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